Rattray, p.584.

[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]

   RATTRAY, the name of various localities in the maritime parish of Crimond, Buchan, Aberdeenshire. An extinct town of the name is said to have been a burgh: see CRIMOND. A fishing-village of the name is situated 10 miles north by west of Peterhead, and about the same distance south-east, of Fraserburgh. Rattray-house stands embosomed in wood 1½ mile south of the village. Rattray-head is a low dangerous promontory, running about 1½ mile out from the prevailing line of the coast, and situated about 10 miles south-east of Kinnaird-head. Rattray-bridges are peculiarly dangerous marine ground about ¾ of a mile east-north-east of the extreme point of the promontory. 

   RATTRAY, a parish in the extreme west of Strathmore proper, marching with the district of Stormont, Perthshire. It is bounded on the north by Alyth; on the north-east by the detached part of Blairgowrie; on the east by Bendochie; and on the south and west by the river Ericht, which divides it from the main body of Blairgowrie. Its extreme length, from north to south, is 5½ miles; and its mean breadth is about 1¾ mile. A detached portion, called Easter Bleaton, lies 3½ miles to the north-north-west; measures 1 mile by 1½; and is bounded on the north by Forfarshire, – on the east and the south by Alyth, – and on the west by the river Lochy, which divides it from a detached part of Caputh and from Kirkmichael. Easter Bleaton forms part of the ascending ranges of the frontier Grampians. The main body of the parish, for 1¼ mile from the southern boundary, is flat, or very gently ascending; and, over the rest of the area, consists of the lowest and slowly graduated heights which, several miles beyond the northern boundary, attain a Grampian elevation. The fine southern exposure, combined with the field afforded by the vast mountain-rampart in the comparatively near distance, renders the situation pleasant, and the climate very healthy. The lands in the south have a dry and pretty fertile soil, and are all arable; and those in the north are disposed chiefly in pasture. A common moor of 300 acres lies in the uplands, and though improveable, is neglected. The Ericht, over most of its 6½ miles’ connexion with the parish, is alternately a picturesque and a romantic stream; it is overhung by a profusion of copsewood, chiefly small oaks, which are periodically cut for sale; and above Craighall, its banks are sheer precipices of rock, upwards of 200 feet high, crowned with plantation, and parapeted with wall, to warn strangers and cattle of danger. Its floods occasionally invade the low grounds in the south, and carry off much booty. At Keith, about ¾ of a mile from the village of Rattray, where the stream rushes over a rugged rock about 10 feet high, and forms a pool, fishers, who pay a considerable rent for the fishery, practise a peculiar method in catching salmon: they make what they call a “drimuck,” resembling thin wrought mortar, and throw it into the pool to disturb the clearness of the water; and, being provided with long poles to the end of which bag-nets are affixed, they then stand upon the point of the rock, rake the pool, and bring up the fish. The Ericht is esteemed by sportsmen one of the finest rivers for rod-fishing, both for trout and for salmon. A curious and elegant iron-bridge has recently been thrown across the stream below Glen-Ericht-house: it consists of one direct or straight-lined span, resting at the ends upon stone pillars; and it has a separate carriage-way and foot- track, and is floored or carpeted with gravel. On the farm of Standing-stanes, which has its name from the circumstance, are the remains of a Druidical temple. South-east of the village is an oblong moundish height, called the Castle-hill, surmounted by vestiges of the ancient castle of Rattray, a very large building, and the original residence of the far-descended family of Rattray. About 2 miles north-north-west of the village stands Craighall, the more modern but still ancient seat of the family. It crowns a peninsulated rock whose sides go sheer down 200 feet or upwards to the Ericht, and has, from the drawing-room windows, a balcony whence, as from an aerial elevation, a close and thrilling view is obtained of the surrounding romantic scenery. The house is accessible only in front, or from the south; and, on that side, it was anciently defended by a ditch, and two round towers, with openings for archery or missiles. The towers still exist; and the house has recently been modernized in the interior, and embellished at the exterior angles with turrets. The parish is traversed eastward through the village by the road between Dunkeld and Kirriemuir, and is within easy distance of the western terminus of the Dundee and Newtyle railway. Population, in 1801, 880; in 1831, 1,362. Houses 261. Assessed property, in 1815, £2,433. – Rattray is in the presbytery of Dunkeld, and synod of Perth and Stirling. Patron, the Earl of Kinnoul. Stipend £157 9s. 2d.; glebe £25. The parish-church is modern and neat. The inhabitants of Easter Bleaton attend the chapel of Persie in Bendochie. See PERSIE. A meeting-house belonging to the United Secession is situated in the village. In 1834, the parish-school was attended by 69 scholars; and three private schools – two of them conducted by females – were attended by 116. Parochial schoolmaster’s salary £34 4s. with £15 fees, and about £4 10s. other emoluments. 

   Rattray, a manufacturing and thriving village in the above parish, is situated ¾ of a mile east of Blairgowrie, 4½ miles south-west of Alyth, 4½ north-west of Coupar-Angus, and 10½ east-north-east of Dunkeld. It is, in a strict sense, two villages, Old and New Rattray, almost contiguous. Old Rattray is situated on the southern declivity of a hill, and built in a straggling manner; and New Rattray occupies both sides of the road toward Blairgowrie, and extends almost to the Ericht. The former has much increased during the last half century; the latter has entirely sprung into existence within that period; and both owe their prosperity, in a great degree, to the water-power of the Ericht, and the erection upon it of flax-spinning-mills. The mills in the vicinity, and within the parish, are 7 in number; they vary in mechanical force from 6 to 20 horse-power; and they employ about 240 persons. The inhabitants not employed by the mills are, in general, weavers of coarse linen fabrics for the manufacturers of Dundee. Population of Old Rattray, about 400; of New Rattray, about 320. 

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